Cracker Barrel—otherwise known as the best possible chain you can see while driving down a desolate stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere—is shaking things up in the music game. Market Watch reports that the restaurant has released “Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites: Deluxe Edition,” an exclusive new album from the Grammy-winning country and bluegrass band Alabama. It will sell for $11.99 at all 632 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations and online at crackerbarrel.com.
Cracker Barrel is known for its kitschy “country stores” attached to each restaurant, selling faux old-timey items like “Grandma’s Lye Soap” and birdhouses. But the chain has also eked out a niche as a music retailer, securing exclusive releases from the likes of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. They tend to be gospel and hymn albums, presumably appealing to Cracker Barrel’s core Bible Belt audience (let’s not forgot the company’s unfortunate history of discrimination towards gays and African Americans).
Politics and religion aside, the alignment between chains and artists makes sense as the music business struggles to rejigger its business model. Starbucks has been successful selling albums by the likes of Paul McCartney and Alanis Morissette through its Hear Music label, while Papa John’s gave out copies of Taylor Swift’s Red album during a pizza-delivery promotion.
All this got us thinking: Which other artists should align with restaurants to sell their music? Here are a few ideas—if any A&Rs want to hit us up for some more, you know what to do—Cut. The. Check.
WINGSTOP: Rick Ross, The Wingstop Sessions. Rick Ross’ discography is pretty much an ad for Wing Stop already (he’s an investor), so why not leverage the synergy to full effect?
CHEESECAKE FACTORY: Various artists, Full Court Press Vol. 2. Fact: NBA players love the Cheesecake Factory. There’s no reason why America’s favorite chain wouldn’t be the ideal outlet for the next compilation of hoop-inspired rappity-rap.
BENIHANA: 2Chainz, Benihana Issues. Benihana has so much cred in the rap world, it could honestly just change the game and become the next Def Jam. Noted seafood lover and Beni-hanhan enthusiast 2Chainz would be a major first signing.
AUNTIE ANNE’S: Your least favorite struggle rapper, Untitled. No one actually wants to go to Auntie Anne’s, just like no one wants to buy mixtapes in Times Square. But you know how sometimes when you buy something worthless at a Dollar Store, you end up picking up some extra items at check-out because they’re also dirt-cheap and you don’t really care anymore? The same logic applies here—struggle rappers should get people when they’re already at a low point. It’s basic consumer psychology.
[via Daily Meal]